In the current economic climate many families are finding that their income just doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. If it isn’t possible to increase your earnings via bonuses, overtime, or a second job, then a more frugal lifestyle can make money go that bit further. That said, frugal living does not always mean a lower quality of lifestyle.
Frugal Family Living
Freeing up extra cash by cutting back in some areas may make it possible to overpay any debts, clearing the balance earlier, and thereby freeing up more cash. When looking to reduce debts by ‘snowballing’, focusing on reducing or clearing one debt as quickly as possible whilst maintaining other debts at their minimum level, some people prefer to focus on the balances and concentrate on clearing the lowest first, thereby reducing the number of debts; however, it is often more efficient to focus on the interest rates and target the debts in order of the highest interest rate first, this will save more money in the long term. Either way, once one debt is cleared, rather than the money for those repayments being absorbed back into the general budget, all available money is now directed at clearing the next highest priority debt.
In order to see where it is possible to make cutbacks and live more frugally it is useful to keep a spending diary for a couple of months, being sure to log every single purchase – this makes is easy to see exactly where money goes. It is surprising how much small, regular amounts, such as newspapers, magazines, coffee etc add up to.
The cost of groceries can account for a large proportion of household expenditure, but it is possible to save money by shopping smarter:
• Keep a stocked store cupboard of basic ingredients – this will encourage you to cook, not order takeout.
• Batch cooking – it is often cheaper to purchase larger amounts and cook several servings at once and then freeze.
• Invest in a slow cooker – these are cheap to run (similar cost to a single lightbulb) and enable cheaper cuts of meat to be used in many recipes, such as stews, as well as being extremely versatile.
• Drop a brand level from usual purchases.
• Make a meal plan, from this plan make a list of what you will need and shop to the list. This prevents spending money on a large amount of groceries and then finding that there is nothing to make a meal from.
Shop around to ensure that all utilities are on the most appropriate tariffs and that bills are calculated from actual reading, rather than estimated readings. Utility companies often have introductory offers at this time of year to attract new customers during the cold seasons.
By following the above tips you should be able to knock a large chunk of your monthly expenditure. People often look for complicated and fanciful ways to save money but common sense and sticking to a plan will win out over any get-rich-quick scheme.
Post provided by nortonfinance.co.uk